This has not been a great year for mobile quarterbacks.
Cam Newton, the first one off the board and fifth quarterback selected overall (per preseason average draft position), is 12th in the position in fantasy points (92) and ninth in fantasy points per game (18.4).
Colin Kaepernick, second off the board and the sixth quarterback picked, is 19th in fantasy points (76) and has twice finished outside the week's top 20 quarterbacks.
Robert Griffin III, third and eighth selected, is 17th in fantasy points (79), has one more passing touchdown (six) than interceptions (five), and is on pace to produce 77 fewer fantasy points with his legs this year than last.
Russell Wilson, fourth and 10th picked, is tied with Newton in fantasy points despite having played one additional game, and twice has finished outside the week's top 20 scoring quarterbacks.
And Michael Vick, fifth and 15th selected, got off to a scorching start with 59 points through the first two weeks, only to tally 39 total the next three before getting hurt, as he so often does.
This group combined has averaged 16.2 fantasy points per game, has been worth having in your lineup only 33.3 percent of the time (that the Consistency Rating measure of a "Start," or a top-10 performance in the given week), and on seven occasions has been a "Stiff" (outside the top-20 point total).
Compare that with 2012, when this quintet managed a combined 43.8 percent Consistency Rating and totaled 17 "Stiff" scores, three of those by Colin Kaepernick before he had been named the San Francisco 49ers' starter in Week 11.
Still, while fantasy owners of these five might be frustrated today, patience is mostly warranted, and the argument could be made that there's no better time to target them in trade. In the examples of Newton, Griffin and Wilson, in fact, there's every reason to recommend them as buy-low candidates.
CONSISTENCY RATINGS BENCHMARKS
Using 2013 statistics and fantasy points determined by ESPN's standard scoring, the charts contained in this column rate players based upon how consistently reliable they are. To familiarize you with some of the terminology:
Start: The number of times the player's point total in a given week was worthy of having had him active in an ESPN standard league.
Stud: The number of times the player's point total ranked among the top at his position.
Stiff: The number of times the player's point total ranked among the worst at his position, making almost any waiver-wire option a smarter choice.
These are the benchmarks for what constitutes a "Start," "Stud" or "Stiff" performance, numbers identifying the player's rank at his position:
Sat: The number of times the player missed a game. Players are not charged "Stiff" points for sitting out, but it hurts their overall Consistency Rating.
%: The player's overall Consistency Rating, calculated as number of "Start" performances divided by scheduled team games.
Newton might seem much more obvious today, following his season-best, 30-point Week 6 performance (the seventh 30-pointer in his career) against the Minnesota Vikings, but the extent to which he's worth acquiring could yet be unclear. It's a potential springboard to a bounce-back "second half," that definition in this case serving his Carolina Panthers' post-bye schedule. Consider that in 2012, Newton averaged 16.6 fantasy points per game before the Panthers' Week 6 bye, and 20.5 after it. He has also averaged 21.7 fantasy points per game in the season's true second half, Weeks 10-17, in his first two NFL seasons.
It's Newton's low weekly risk that makes him such an attractive fantasy option. His 56.8 percent career Consistency Rating is fourth-best since 2010, and only five times in his 37 career games did he finish outside the top-20 scoring quarterbacks. That's what his rushing potential does; he props up his basement expectation thanks to what he can do with his legs, especially at the goal line. Sure enough, he scored a 7-yard rushing touchdown in Week 6, only his second such score of 2013, making him 18-for-37 (48.6 percent rate of successful touchdown conversions) in his career rushing in goal-to-go situations.
Griffin, meanwhile, has absorbed much of the criticism for his Washington Redskins' 1-4 start, but a less-than-stellar RG III should've always, to some degree, been expected, coming off major knee surgery. Though it's possible he'll need until 2014 before we'll see him fully recapture his rookie-year form, one key takeaway from Week 6 was his 77 yards on nine rushing attempts, both of those season highs as well as his best since Week 11 of last season. It's that kind of mobility that has earned him a 52.4 percent Consistency Rating, as well as four "Stud" performances (top two in the given week) in his young career.
Wilson is perhaps the most intriguing -- and probably cheaper than either of the previous two mentioned -- quarterback trade target, especially with word of Percy Harvin's ever-nearing return to the lineup. Though he has been more mistake-prone this year than last, committing seven turnovers after only 13 in all of 2012, Wilson has been an unstoppable force on the ground the past three weeks, during which he has totaled 240 yards on 33 carries. He also reined in the mistakes in Week 6 against a stingy Tennessee Titans defense, which bodes well for improvement.
As for Kaepernick and Vick, is there any hope with either?
In Kaepernick's case, a smaller career sample from which to draw casts him an awkward fit in this group: He has made 13 consecutive starts, was a "Start" in six of them (46.2 percent Consistency Rating), a "Stud" once (Week 1 of this year) and a "Stiff" twice (in Weeks 2 and 3 of this year). Any case made for him as a trade target probably hinges upon his schedule: @JAC (Week 8), @WSH (Week 12), STL (Week 13) and ATL (Week 16) appear to be worthwhile matchups.
Vick, meanwhile, needs not only to heal, but to be fortunate enough to do so before Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly decides that Nick Foles gives the team a better chance to win at quarterback. Because you'd have to do so if you wanted to trade for him, let's assume Vick returns to the starting role no later than Week 8. Among his favorable remaining matchups would be NYG (Week 8), @GB (Week 10), WSH (Week 11), @MIN (Week 15) and @DAL (Week 17). But Vick's career consistency numbers underscore the frustrating fantasy player he is: He has a 46.3 percent rating, 10th among quarterbacks since 2010, has been a "Stiff" only one fewer time (six) than he has been a "Stud" (seven), and he has sat out 14 games due to injury during that span.
Consistency Ratings chart
Players are initially ranked in order of their Consistency Rating, calculated as the percentage of the player's scheduled games -- not games played, but scheduled games -- in which his fantasy point total registered a "Start" score. All categories are sortable both ascending and descending; just click on the headers to sort. Players must have met at least one of the following minimums for inclusion in the chart: 25.0 percent Consistency Rating in standard scoring leagues, 25.0 percent Consistency Rating in PPR formats. All defense/special teams are included, regardless of whether they met those minimums.
These statistics are for 2013 only. Statistics for games since 2010 can be found here.